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Jeruba's avatar

Divorce in california: does this sound right to you?

Asked by Jeruba (47471points) March 14th, 2011

let’s call her katie. katie is 28 and was married for 4 years to mitch. mitch is an alcoholic. katie finally left him and filed for divorce.

katie took him the papers to sign to complete the process. he didn’t sign and didn’t sign. she kept after him until he eventually told her he’d lost them.

now she is in limbo. she is still legally married. she says she can’t afford to pay a lawyer again so she has to do the paperwork herself. also she doesn’t have $500 for the filing fee.

this is her story. can it be true? it doesn’t make sense to me that a deadbeat could stymie the process just by failing to sign or that she would have to start all over again if one set of papers goes missing.

i know nothing about divorce law or process, but i have an interest in this young woman. if you are knowledgeable, can you shed any light on katie’s situation?

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9 Answers

nikipedia's avatar

Did the lawyer draft the papers on a typewriter? He can’t just have his secretary print out another copy?

Jeruba's avatar

i don’t know. i am in doubt on all points. basically i am reporting what she said when i asked what she meant by saying ‘technically he isn’t my ex yet.’ i’d hate to think she fabricated this tale, but it sounds so strange to me.

tinyfaery's avatar

I am not a lawyer. I did work for lawyers in CA. The way I understand it, the Court needs an original ink signature of all parties. Some judges insist that they all be on one document. Most accept multiple copies of the same document, with different dates, as long as the signature is original and it is filed within the given time period.

I don’t know what county Katie lives in, but the L.A. County website has a lot of information about documents and deadlines.

Jeruba's avatar

thanks, @psychocandy. i guess if the deadline passes it’s back to square one? seems like there should be some recourse so a vindictive or simply indifferent party can’t stall the process forever.

santa clara.

tinyfaery's avatar

I agree that there should be some recourse. Maybe she can try legal aid.

I hear legalzoom.com is a place where you can get info and help with documents.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I don’t know anything about California, but it sounds like she was going to a divorce based on him agreeing to it (uncontested). Perhaps she should check to see if she can file without his agreement, thus forcing the court to give him a deadline to say he doesn’t want the divorce (contesting it) and then the judge would have to decide if she gets the divorce or not against his will.

WasCy's avatar

I suggest that you go direct to the people who can help answer this best: “do it yourself divorce” sites in California.

Divorce Wizards was the first one I came up with, but a simple search (“do it yourself divorce california”) will turn up more sites offering assistance in this area than you can read tonight.

I don’t think they’re very expensive to start the process, either. Her big problem in California will be the division of property, I think.

Cupcake's avatar

I have a friend with a somewhat similar situation. It is certainly possible… although awful. I’m with you that there should be some recourse. I hope she gets the help she needs. Legal issues and limited resources are a bad combination.

Zaku's avatar

I don’t know about California law, but in Washington state, it does not cost nearly $500 to file for divorce, if there are no children or other big complications it can be done oneself (besides, it would just be pretty much copying the original filing the lawyer did), and if the respondent doesn’t respond after some period of months, the motion is passed however the applicant files for it, so he’d better respond, or else it goes down however she wants it to. In Washington.

I would think she could appeal to the court to have the original motion passed.

She could call for a free phone consultation with a lawyer to get the scoop in California.

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